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Appealing the Court Decision: '... health care must change'

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
March 4, 2014

St. Luke’s and Saltzer Medical Group will file a request for a stay pending appeal of the judge’s order to unwind the existing relationship between the two organizations. 

This action, which was endorsed by the community-led board of directors for St. Luke’s Health System and the physician leadership of Saltzer Medical Group, allows the organizations to both pursue an appeal and explore a future relationship that is acceptable to the court.

The request for a stay pending appeal allows Saltzer Medical Group and St. Luke’s time to effectively look for ways to improve healthcare delivery without disrupting the Saltzer clinics and their patients.

Our request for a stay pending appeal recognizes, as the court has, that this case presents issues of both exceptional importance and substantial difficulty. All of us involved in this matter have appreciated the candid input and sage counsel we have received and we’re confident this is the right path forward for us and for the patients we serve.

Dr. John Kaiser, president of Saltzer Medical Group and a practicing ob/gyn physician, has been an eloquent and passionate voice in support of Saltzer’s patients throughout the process.

During the fall trial, Dr. Kaiser spoke of the value the relationship with St. Luke’s was bringing to the group’s patients, noting such benefits as improved ability to recruit needed clinicians, improved nursing and patient safety protocols, access to data analytics, and a variety of new services for patients. In the near future, it would have included a significantly more robust electronic health records system.

Because of the relationship, Dr. Kaiser said in court, the group was able to take care of patients it could not previously afford to treat.

The Saltzer’s group’s commitment to its patients and the residents of Canyon County is a commitment shared by our St. Luke’s board of community leaders.

“St. Luke’s is the partner we chose and St. Luke’s is still the partner we want to work with,” Dr. Kaiser said. “They have shown through this process that they are committed to the same ideals and values as we are.”

For St. Luke’s, relationships are important; that’s what our history, spanning more than 100 years, is based on. We will stand by our commitment to Saltzer Medical Group and the residents of Canyon County until we are able to have a positive resolution to this matter, either prevailing on appeal or identifying an alternative that allows Saltzer to remain healthy and continue to serve patients and the community in a positive way.

Our vision is based on a fundamental belief that health care must change. We remain committed to that vision – health care that ensures better outcomes for patients by rewarding providers for improving health and wellness and not just for treating illness.

We will continue to find constructive ways to inspire those positive changes. We owe it to the people of this region.


About The Author

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.